NSW Health advice to travellers returning from Wuhan, China

As part of aninternational response, NSW Healthwill help Commonwealth Biosecurity staff at Sydney Airport monitor travellersreturning from Wuhan, where there is an outbreak of novel human coronavirus.

Chinese Healthofficials have confirmed more than 200 cases of the infection, including peoplewho travelled from Wuhan to other parts of China and to at least four othercountries in Asia.

No cases ofthe novel coronavirus have been detected in NSW.

Director ofHealth Protection, NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said advice is being providedto travellers who may have already returned to NSW from Wuhan as it can take uptwo weeks for symptoms to develop.

“Symptoms of the virus include a fever with respiratory symptoms such asa cough, sore throat or shortness of breath,” Dr McAnulty said.

“There is noneed for alarm, but people should be aware of the emerging situation and ifthey develop symptoms on returning from affected areas overseas, they should call ahead before seeing their GP.

“This virusdoes not appear to spread easily between people, but anyone with symptomsshould practise simple hygiene by covering their coughs and sneezes with atissue or their elbow and washing their hands thoroughly.”

While theAustralian Government Department of Health in consultation with the AustralianGovernment Department of Agriculture has the lead for health matters at theAustralian border, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said public healthofficials here are working with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions tomonitor the situation in China.

“Sydney is apopular destination for people travelling from China especially around the timeof the Lunar New Year, so up-to-date health advice is paramount,” Mr Hazzardsaid.

Health workersin NSW public hospitals as well ascommunity-based General Practitioners have already been issued precautionaryadvice to help them identify any casesof the infection and to apply careful infection control measures to prevent thespread of the novel coronavirus. NSW Healthwill continue to update all relevant health professionals: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/default.aspx

NSW Health hasmade novel coronavirus 2019 a notifiable disease under the Public Health Act.Under this requirement, doctors and laboratories must report any suspectedcases to NSW Health.

NSW Health hasdeveloped and exercised a range of procedures for case finding, diagnosis, andcontact tracing for high consequence infectious diseases (such as pandemicinfluenza, SARS, MERS, and emerging infections) should they occur in NSW.

People who areheading overseas should also check the advice on Smart Traveller (smartraveller.gov.au).General advice for overseas travellers includes avoiding animals(alive or dead) and animal markets, and avoiding close contact with sickpeople.

/Public Release. View in full here.